High-level North Korean diplomat Ri Su Yong in Beijing on Sunday expressed his country’s commitment to strengthening “friendly” ties with China, Xinhua reported, in a meeting with Xi Jinping ahead of a concert by a visiting DPRK art troupe.
In another public display of increasingly close ties between Beijing and Pyongyang, Ri, who serves as a vice chairman of the Workers Party of Korea’s (WPK) Central Committee and head of its International Department, used the meeting to extend “warm greetings and good wishes” to Xi from the DPRK leader.
The visit to the Chinese capital by the art troupe, announced in state media last week, comes just weeks after a fourth summit between Xi and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un – a meeting which saw the two leaders pledge, among other things, to step up cultural exchanges.
The troupe, reportedly made up of 280 performers from the “State Merited Chorus and leading artistes in Pyongyang City,” departed Pyongyang for Beijing on Wednesday. Their first concert came on Saturday at the Chinese capital’s National Center for the Performing Arts, following rehearsals on Thursday and Friday.
Sunday saw Ri say the visit underlined the North Korean leader’s “deep feelings to Xi and the DPRK people’s profound friendship with the Chinese people” and commitment to agreements made during the two leader’s summit earlier in the month.
“The DPRK side will earnestly implement the important consensus reached by Kim and Xi, strengthen friendly cooperation and contribute to writing a new chapter in DPRK-China friendship,” he added.
President #XiJinping and his wife Peng Liyuan on Sunday met with Ri Su Yong, a senior official from the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (#DPRK), and watched a performance by DPRK artists pic.twitter.com/fSsgmoYBsR
— People’s Daily, China (@PDChina) January 28, 2019
The Chinese President, in turn, told Ri that the concerts in Beijing this week would serve as a “great success to cement friendship between the two peoples.”
“Xi said he and Kim had reached important consensus on the development of China-DPRK party-to-party and state-to-state relations in the new era during their four meetings since 2018,” he was reported to have said by Xinhua.
“China stands ready to work with the DPRK to implement the important consensus reached by the two sides, so as to better benefit the two peoples and contribute to world peace, stability, development and prosperity,” he added, stressing the additional significance of this year’s 70th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Beijing and Pyongyang.
The two then attended a performance by the art troupe, which Xinhua reported “featured famous and popular songs in both the DPRK and China.”
The visit is the most high-profile by a troupe of North Korean musicians to China in just over three years, following an abortive tour by Pyongyang’s Moranbong Band in December 2015.
It comes on the invitation of the International Liaison Department of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China.